04 May 2014

Mine Is Bigger Than Yours. Don't Look!!

One submeme (if that's a word, which isn't a cylindrical meat sandwich) of these endeavors is that today's "innovative" economy is evermore advert pushers exploding from the body a la Alien (yuck!). Or, in line with Krugman (2005):
In other words, a fuller answer to my former neighbor would be that these days, Americans make a living selling each other houses, paid for with money borrowed from the Chinese. Somehow, that doesn't seem like a sustainable lifestyle.

Then it was swapping houses. Now, it's an endless loop of advert makers selling adverts for their advert businesses. A horde of whirling dervishes on nicotine, crack, and LSD.

Today's NYT business section has a very long piece on innterTubes adverts. A j'accuse moment, if it were not so terrifying. Innovation boils down to Mad Men? And, I only know the show from hearsay; never had any interest in watching a fictionalized version of real stupidity. The piece is way too long to bother with making a precis' and claiming authorship.

I'll settle for suggesting you owe it to yourself to go read it, and offer up the best bon mots. The ones which echo my previous lamentations.

Turns out that one is, largely, buying a pig in a poke:
But disappointment turned to rage when she read the list of domain names where the ads were running; it included pornographic websites. The team opened one site with an especially lewd name and gaped in horror. "Oh my God," some shouted. Others cursed. Ms. VanHeirseele picked up her phone to call the media buyer in a fury.

I had, before wading through the piece, a vague notion that the advert business is much like Apple: an advert is largely composed of bought in parts, despite the name of seller of the advert pushing service. There is a long list of the kind of companies twixt the advert buyer (i.e., the company whose product is being flogged) and the advert viewer. Even with sharp language in the contracts, your Bible flogging business could end up on a porn site. Maher would be tickled. (No, that's not explicitly in the piece; just my musing. But it tickles me!)
When ads are sold, even the media buyer that was initially given the contract to place the ads may not know where they are running.

Kind of like buying a Gucci purse from a table in the Bowery?

What's the problem? Much like the subprime ARM mortgages buying McMansions, most just want to keep dancing as long as the music keeps playing. They all hope to either get one of the diminishing number of chairs, or squirreled away enough moolah to have gone home already, when the music stops.
"Except for the advertisers, no one has a vested interest in spending less money," said Jeff Semones, president of M80, a direct-marketing company, who was at the conference. "Whether it's the publishers, the ad platforms, the agencies that manage these activities. Right now, it behooves almost no one to clean up this mess."

I guess someone rewound the ARM movie and it's playing to a new crowd. When there's rules to be gamed, they will be. Data? Don't look behind that curtain!!

For nearly two decades, the meme from the In People on the innterTubes was that the innterTubes was a better way to push adverts. Spend only to get the eyeballs of the folks you want. Newspapers? Magazines? Network TV? Pointless legacy. A sniper rifle rather than a shotgun. Turns out, not too surprisingly, not so much. I suspect the NSA knows how well the gag is working, but they're not telling.
The chasm between the value of such ads to brands (negligible) and their value to publishers and ad networks (considerable) is the reason that many say this medium is at an inflection point.

Once again we find that "honest business" is the second most important oxymoron, right behind "happily married".

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